Q&A: I Killed the Prom Queen Get Back to Business


When Australian hardcore-metal act I Killed the Prom Queen released their scathingly heaving 2014 IKilledThePromQueen_TomBarnes_001album, Beloved, it had been eight years since the unit led by Jona Weinhofen had given fans a new studio album to devour.

For a number of reasons, the band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2007 and Weinhofen subsequently spent time as a guitarist for Bleeding Through, then Bring Me the Horizon.

But, after years of having to take a backseat role with those bands, Weinhofen decided to help bring I Killed the Prom Queen – which also includes Jamie Hope (vocals), Kevin Cameron (guitar), Shane O’brien (drums), and Benjamin Coyte (bass) – out of the ground and back onto the scene.

In a recent conversation with Riffyou.com Weinhofen discussed the return of I Killed the Prom Queen, creative struggles within other projects, as well as what’s next for the band he helped bring out from the land down under, to a stage above people’s eyes.

RY: You spent many years away from this band in other projects, what did it mean to you put out Beloved and see the subsequent reaction?

Jona: “It was a rad, exciting experience for us. One of the coolest things about Beloved was that a lot of people who know the band very well (be it fans, friends, or peers in other bands), have told us that the album sounds like a natural continuation of Music for the Recently Deceased (2006). They said that we could’ve released Beloved two years after that one – instead of eight – and it would’ve made sense either way. It was nice to know that even though we had a long break…we didn’t sound like a completely different band. It felt like a natural progression and hopefully we can [give the same feeling] with the next album.”

RY: Did you have any concern that Beloved wouldn’t be close to what you guys did in the past, considering the gap between albums?

Jona: “It’s not something that we focused on and worried about. I guess the thought was there since we changed some of the long-standing band members at the last minute, leading up to Beloved. That’s always going to make some kind of difference – every album is going to sound different because of that. But, with Kevin and I being the main, core song writers, we’ve managed to maintain our own sound.”

RY: As mentioned, you were involved in other projects. What made you want to return to I Killed the Prom Queen?

Jona: “There are several reasons. For this band, even though there are new members in it, the band is comprised of very close friends of mine. The other two bands I played for – Bleeding Through and Bring Me the Horizon – they were also friends of mine, but they weren’t people I grew up with and spent most of my life with. They were just guys I met a few years earlier and saw once or twice when they played my town…or we crossed paths on tour.

“It was a cool experience for me to join someone else’s band, see the inner-workings of it and to understand what it’s like to have someone else take the reigns. There’s usually one or two guys who are the driving force behind a band and that’s their job: they have the vision and everyone else helps them carry that out. I was always that person in I Killed the Prom Queen, but I wasn’t in the bands I joined. I could’ve joined another band and done the same thing, but I just felt like I missed being that driving force and having that creative vision that gets recognized.”

RY: Would you say you felt creatively stifled in Bleeding Through and Bring Me the Horizon?

Jona: “Absolutely. I went from being a key songwriter, having a lot of creative vision, and managing a band, to basically being just a guitarist onstage who wrote a riff here and there. When I joined Bleeding Through and Bring Me the Horizon, I tried to put in as much as I could into those bands, but as I mentioned, they already had the guys with the vision. All I could do was submit my ideas and hope that they liked them. It was very different going from doing almost everything for one band, to doing very little in two others. I felt a little bit empty.”

RY: When you were with Bring Me the Horizon, did you have any idea that they’d become as big as they are now?

Jona: “I think they always had that vision, but it was just a matter of adapting their songwriting to diversify their audience. They’ve done a fantastic job of that. I definitely got a glimpse of where the band was headed, just by being with them for three years. We went from headlining little club shows with a few hundred people, to playing the main stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals in front of thirty to IKilledThePromQueen_TomBarnes_002forty thousand people. That was enough for me know that they were going to big places.”

RY: Do you wish your time with Bring Me the Horizon ended differently?

Jona: “No, not at all. I had a great time with that band and some wonderful experiences. Like I said, it was always difficult for me to take a backseat. There were a lot of people involved in that band that were controlling how it operated, and I wasn’t comfortable with the decisions being made. Obviously for them, it’s working and they’re a really good band. But, I feel like they’re making certain sacrifices and I wasn’t comfortable with some of those.”

RY: In terms of I Killed the Prom Queen, I’d have to think that a new album is in the works. While it may still be early in the process, what kind of ideas do you have floating around?

Jona: “I’m not sure where this album is going to go, musically. We have a pretty defined sound that we stuck with on the last couple of albums, but I don’t know if we’ll stick with that melodic, Swedish metal-influence, or try and branch out into something new.”

-Adam Grant

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